Bouncebackability: a word coined for the play-offs that fits them perfectly

The best preparation a team can have for a play-off final is the experience of losing one the year before By Richard Foster, author of The Agony and the Ecstasy Iain Dowie coined the word bouncebackability in the 2003-04 season when describing how his Crystal Palace team had gone from the fringes of relegation in December to winning promotion through the play-offs in May. Not many managers have been responsible for adding words to the English lexicon but Dowie shared the honour with Sir Alex Ferguson in 2005 when both “squeaky bum time” and “bouncebackability” entered the Oxford English Dictionary. It is fitting that Dowie came up with the word while discussing a side promoted in the play-offs, as bouncebackability has been remarkably common in so many sides who have won promotion in these showpiece finals. Of the 10 beaten finalists who have returned to the same fixture the Continue reading "Bouncebackability: a word coined for the play-offs that fits them perfectly"

Jack Ross appointed Sunderland manager on two-year deal

• 41-year-old joins club after guiding St Mirren to promotion
• ‘To help realise [club’s] potential fills me with excitement’Jack Ross has been appointed Sunderland’s new manager on a two-year deal. The 41-year-old who guided St Mirren to promotion was named the PFA Scotland manager of the year last season and will be joined at the Stadium of Light by assistant manager James Fowler. Related: Sunderland women face uncertain future after divorce process | Louise Taylor Continue reading...

No Champions League hotel room? Ukraine minister can help

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Kiev (AFP) – When Julie Pierson and her companion Jorge Ramirez had their apartment reservation for Saturday’s Champions League final in Kiev cancelled, they did not expect to end up being hosted by a minister. But when the Real Madrid supporters from Luxembourg arrived for the big match with Liverpool, it was Information Minister Yuriy Stets and his wife Yana Konotop, a Ukrainian TV presenter, who laid out the welcoming mat. The Ukrainian capital has witnessed a mini accommodation crisis in the run up to the biggest match in club football, with some hotels charging nearly 100 times their normal rates. Some fans who thought they were playing it safe by making inexpensive reservations well in advance ended up having their bookings annulled by hotels looking for a quick profit. Grigoriy Surkis, vice president of the European football governing body UEFA and a Ukrainian national, told AFP he was “furious” Continue reading "No Champions League hotel room? Ukraine minister can help"

Liverpool aim to end Real reign in Champions League final

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Kiev (AFP) – Liverpool and Mohamed Salah, the Egyptian striker whose goals took his side to the Champions League final, hope their brand of attacking football can prevent Real Madrid from becoming kings of Europe for the third year in a row on Saturday. The Spanish giants have seen the Champions League as their competition ever since winning the first five European Cups in a row, and they are in the midst of another golden era, dreaming of making it a fourth Champions League in five years. Neither Atletico Madrid (twice) nor Juventus have been able to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from inflicting pain on them in recent finals. But Liverpool’s own attacking quality gives them reason to believe and suggests the Olympic Stadium in the Ukrainian capital could be the scene of an unforgettable encounter. In terms of history alone, this is a dream final. Real’s 12 European Cup wins Continue reading "Liverpool aim to end Real reign in Champions League final"

World Cup stunning moments: Gordon Banks is stricken

England’s goalkeeper was laid low by food poisoning before their quarter-final – during a World Cup that saw little go right It was Friday 12 June. The previous day England, without playing at all well, had beaten Czechoslovakia 1-0 to secure second place in Group C and qualification for the quarter-finals. All four ties were to be played on the Sunday, giving the team a couple of days off. Alf Ramsey decided that there was enough slack in his schedule to allow a little downtime. Not far from the Hilton, where England’s team was based, was the Guadalajara Country Club, a swanky golf course with tennis courts, swimming pools and swanky bar attached that apparently charged £1,500 a year – the equivalent of £19,000 today – for membership. Many English football figures, including Joe Mercer, Don Revie and a few players’ wives, had based themselves there for the tournament and Continue reading "World Cup stunning moments: Gordon Banks is stricken"

Unselfishness key to Liverpool’s free-scoring front three – Salah

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Kiev (AFP) – Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah admitted it would be “a dream” to cap a sensational debut season at Anfield by ending Real Madrid’s European reign  in Saturday’s Champions League final. However, Salah says he would be happy if Roberto Firmino or Sadio Mane grabs the goal that takes the Reds to a sixth European crown. Salah has won a series of individual prizes as he has contributed 44 of the 90 goals Liverpool’s front three have scored this season. But the goals have been far more evenly spread in the Champions League. “It doesn’t matter who scores,” Salah told UEFA.com. “Winning games, getting points, that’s the most important thing for us because as you can see, I’ve scored ten goals in the Champions League, Sadio nine, Firmino ten, so all of us are the same. “None of us is selfish or only wants to score. We try to Continue reading "Unselfishness key to Liverpool’s free-scoring front three – Salah"

Chelsea sound out Maurizio Sarri over replacing Antonio Conte

  • Sarri leaving Napoli after guiding club to second in Serie A
  • Chelsea hierarchy continue to weigh up Conte’s future
Chelsea will meet with Maurizio Sarri’s representatives on Friday, with the former Napoli coach a candidate for the manager’s job should they sack Antonio Conte, who is widely expected to exit the club this summer. The Stamford Bridge side continue to weigh up the future of Conte, the Italian who warned Chelsea they would be losing a “serial winner” if they decided to replace him after winning the FA Cup at Wembley last weekend. Continue reading...

Liverpool fans brave transport misery for ‘chance of a lifetime’ final

Businesses capitalising on Liverpool’s Champions League match with Real Madrid in Ukrainian capital Kiev When Anna and Ronnie Ellis each parted with £450 for a seat on an “executive” coach from Liverpool to Kiev, they were expecting a few little luxuries for the 30-hour journey to the Champions League football final. Plug sockets, a toilet, maybe even a TV. Somewhere to store their bags that wasn’t their own laps would have been nice. But the minibus that pulled up outside the Arkle pub in Anfield on Thursday was a little more … rustic. Let’s just say the jerry can a fellow passenger had brought with him from work “for emergencies” was likely to be in high demand on the 2,750km-journey to the Ukrainian capital. Given the number of pints sunk in the pub beforehand, it may well have been full by the time the bus trundled on to the M62. Continue reading "Liverpool fans brave transport misery for ‘chance of a lifetime’ final"

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: shy, strong-willed – and a complete striker

Brazilian’s influence and end product will be crucial to Jürgen Klopp’s attempt to win this year’s Champions League final What distinguished Roberto Firmino in the eyes of Hemerson Maria were not two overhead kicks the 17-year-old scored against his Figueirense team, although they convinced the coach to sanction the teenager’s transfer from Clube de Regatas Brasil (CRB) on first sight. It was a conversation they shared several months later when he found Firmino alone, almost 2,000 miles from home and refusing to go back to Maceió.
“We had played a state league game, under-17s, and afterwards there was a recess, I think one week or more without any activities,” he recalls. “All my players travelled to be with their family, except Firmino. I remember that he was alone in Florianopolis. His parents had stayed living in Maceió. The last time Firmino had seen them was seven months earlier but he Continue reading "Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino: shy, strong-willed – and a complete striker"

Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg

This is where we all are at the moment, gushing at news that Fulham’s teenage wing-back can use a household appliance To south-west London, where startling news emerged when Fulham’s Supporters Trust held its AGM on Tuesday. An awed hush fell over the room as Alistair Mackintosh, the club’s CEO, told an anecdote that left everyone wiping away the tears. On one occasion this season, Mackintosh revealed, Ryan Sessegnon had a doping test after a night game and by the time he was done everyone had gone, the kit man included. So Sessegnon took his kit home, washed it and ironed it before bringing it in the next day.
The story ended there, leaving us to speculate whether Fulham saw fit to frame the hallowed kit in the boardroom at Craven Cottage or offered to donate it to the British Museum, but it wasn’t long before people on social media Continue reading "Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg"

Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg

This is where we all are at the moment, gushing at news that Fulham’s teenage wing-back can use a household appliance To south-west London, where startling news emerged when Fulham’s Supporters Trust held its AGM on Tuesday. An awed hush fell over the room as Alistair Mackintosh, the club’s CEO, told an anecdote that left everyone wiping away the tears. On one occasion this season, Mackintosh revealed, Ryan Sessegnon had a doping test after a night game and by the time he was done everyone had gone, the kit man included. So Sessegnon took his kit home, washed it and ironed it before bringing it in the next day.
The story ended there, leaving us to speculate whether Fulham saw fit to frame the hallowed kit in the boardroom at Craven Cottage or offered to donate it to the British Museum, but it wasn’t long before people on social media Continue reading "Ryan Sessegnon’s washday feat shows news cycle is spinning out of control | Jacob Steinberg"

Football transfer rumours: Tottenham to sign Wilfried Zaha?

Today’s fluff is just gathering pace Mauricio Pochettino sat down beside himself, draped his right arm across his shoulders and looked smilingly into the camera as Spurs staged another shoot to mark the signing of a big new contract. Then the manager ordered the club to get down to more business. And so, Spurs are preparing lucrative offers for Kayla the Eagle, the Crystals cheerleading ensemble and a bust of Roy Hodgson, all in an effort to make Wilfried Zaha feel at home at the new White Hart Lane. Then all Spurs will have to do is convince Crystal Palace to sell their prize asset, so we could be about to find out whether Daniel Levy likes being hardballed. The Spurs chairman is already wincing in anticipation, with £100m having been mentioned as a possible fee for Zaha. Related: Liverpool to step up pursuit of Lyon’s £70m-rated Nabil Fekir Continue Continue reading "Football transfer rumours: Tottenham to sign Wilfried Zaha?"

Klopp seeks turnaround to five forgettable finals

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Kiev (AFP) – “We’ve won it five times,” Liverpool supporters sing to celebrate their five European Cup final victories, but Jurgen Klopp, manager of the English giants, is attempting to end a very different run of results in Saturday’s Champions League final. Klopp has lost his last five finals, three with Borussia Dortmund before moving to Anfield in 2015, and two in his debut season with the Reds. “They don’t hang silver medals at Melwood (Liverpool’s training ground),” Klopp warned amid the euphoria of making it to Kiev this weekend after an enthralling 7-6 aggregate semi-final win over Roma. “There’s still a job to do but that’s how it is. Going to a final is really nice but winning is even nicer.” Those are words of a man who has been there and suffered before. Each of his five final defeats had their own context, but hurt all the same. “If Continue reading "Klopp seeks turnaround to five forgettable finals"

Touts using football resale sites rip off fans and put them at risk

Guardian investigation finds vast numbers of tickets being sold on again despite it being illegal Football tickets are being touted on resale websites in vast numbers, a Guardian investigation has found, prompting warnings that fans are being ripped off and their safety put at risk. Undercover filming has revealed how websites including Viagogo and Ticketbis exploit alliances with professional touts to bypass laws drawn up to improve fan safety, and prevent touting, following the Hillsborough disaster. Continue reading...

Touts using football resale sites rip off fans and put them at risk

Guardian investigation finds vast numbers of tickets being sold on again despite it being illegal Football tickets are being touted on resale websites in vast numbers, a Guardian investigation has found, prompting warnings that fans are being ripped off and their safety put at risk. Undercover filming has revealed how websites including Viagogo and Ticketbis exploit alliances with professional touts to bypass laws drawn up to improve fan safety, and prevent touting, following the Hillsborough disaster. Continue reading...